Since 1984 the month of January has been set aside to promote the Sanctity of Human Life. President Ronald Reagan established January 22 as the official day, and churches observe it on the Sunday closest to that. However, as time has gone on, the entire month of January is dedicated to focusing on the sacredness of all human life.
Society values life according to the quality of life and the contributions one can provide. Certain segments of the population value a particular skin color, ethnicity, lifestyle, or political affiliation as worth more than others. If someone doesn’t conform, they are discriminated against, ostracized, or treated with violence.
God’s standards are different than society’s standards. God loves all human life. Every human being is sacred, created in the LORD’s image.
We can go back to the beginning of creation to some of the earliest Sunday school lessons in Genesis chapter one. On the sixth day, God said, “Let us make human beings in our image, to be like us” (v. 26a, NLT). (The words “us” and “our” reference the relationship of the Trinity.)
So God created human beings in his own image. In the image of God he created them; male and female he created them (v. 27).
At the end of the sixth day, “God looked over all he had made, and he saw that it was very good!” (v. 31, emphasis mine). At the end of the first five days of creation, God saw that it was good. But this day with the creation of human beings in God’s own image, it was very good.
Just two chapters later, the first human beings fell from God’s original intention. They opened the door to disobedience and all its consequences. Thankfully, Jesus came to redeem us and give us new life. The fall may have marred humanity; nevertheless, every person is still created in the image of God. As a result, all life—from conception until death—is sacred and worthy of respect, dignity, and protection. All human life matters to God; what matters to God must matter to us.
Psalm 139 provides beautiful imagery of God’s loving, abiding presence. He is constantly thinking about us with precious thoughts that cannot be numbered. Verse 13-16 depict the caring, skillful craftsmanship of the pre-born baby in the womb. While the words were written by David, they describe God’s relationship with every person.
You made all the delicate, inner parts of my body and knit me together in my mother’s womb. Thank you for making me so wonderfully complex! Your workmanship is marvelous—how well I know it. You watched me as I was being formed in utter seclusion, as I was woven together in the dark of the womb. You saw me before I was born. Every day of my life was recorded in your book. Every moment was laid out before a single day had passed.
Every human being is sacred and priceless. God loves each and every one of us. Nothing can diminish a person’s worth—not age, sickness, disability, hardship, oppression, or any other barrier.
With that in mind, we must embrace the beauty of life. Life becomes even more beautiful when we surrender to the Lordship of Jesus Christ and allow Him to transform us.
Nobody is exempt from the beauty of life. In the Book of Revelation, we get a glimpse into heaven.
“There before me was a great multitude that no one could count, from every nation, tribe, people and language, standing before the throne and before the Lamb” (7:9, NIV).
When we pray the Lord’s Prayer (Matt. 6:9-13), we ask for God’s will to be done on earth as it is in heaven. Heaven establishes the pattern to follow. Heaven has a great multitude of Jesus-followers from every nation, tribe, people and language. Here on earth, despite the ugliness, messiness, and brokenness people may encounter, life is still sacred, it is still beautiful, and it has breath-taking variety.
As Christians and servant leaders, we must consider every person as created in the image of God, and we must look at them through the lens of God’s love and potential. Then, we will be prepared to truly love our neighbors—all of them.
Note: I made the words “all” and “every” bold to accentuate the point that no person is excluded from being treated as sacred and valued.